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Thursday, April 22, 2010

If I Was a Rich Man...

I am sure that some of my readers are getting pretty sick of fantasy-type posts. Unfortunately for them I am a creatively minded individual stuck in a cubicle job. That means all of this energy building up from boredom has to go somewhere. For those of you that enjoy those types of posts, here is another one!
Combining aspects of the MLL Expansion series and the Fantasy Land series, this post will discuss exactly how a Major League Lacrosse franchise could come to central Iowa if I found myself extremely wealthy. Luckily this whole post can be applied to an individual or group that may already be wealthy! So if you or anyone you know is a wealthy individual looking to bring professional lacrosse to Des Moines, pay attention!
I. Franchise Cost
Let's start with the most basic part of owning a professional lacrosse franchise: the cost. Although it seems to be nearly impossible to ascertain the actual cost of an MLL expansion franchise without contacting the league and making a serious inquiry, we can make some educated guesses based on previous articles. In 2006 the Boston Globe discussed the rising value of the MLL in light of its recent expansion. At that time league founder Jake Steinfeld planned to add two more teams in 2008 at $1.5 million each. Obviously that expansion did not happen; in fact, the league contracted four teams last year. The four expansion teams paid $1 million each, up from the $600,000 paid by the original six teams.
Despite the ongoing struggles of the league, it should be assumed that the value of an expansion franchise should be at least $1.5 million as Steinfeld stated in 2006. Even with the bad economy inflation is still occurring and the league's financial losses are continuing. Expansion fees are one way that sports leagues recuperate lost investment dollars. Since Toronto is technically an expansion team and not a continuation of Rochester, knowing what they paid would help immensely. Unfortunately it is nearly impossible to find this information online. For the sake of argument, I will assume that the Toronto franchise was purchased for $1.5 million last year as a true expansion franchise.
As a potential MLL franchise owner, I have the option of plunking down a cool mil' and a half for a shiny new franchise that would be 100 percent mine from day one. Or I could go the route of the previously used. Remember, the MLL closed down four franchises last year (five if you count Rochester) due to the bad economy. While the resurrection of San Fransisco and Los Angeles seem somewhat inevitable, I am not so sure about Philadelphia and have no doubts about New Jersey. Both teams failed to find a suitable home throughout their existence; Philly even did a year on the road (like Chicago) in their final year. That means that there are two franchises that have a high probability for sale and relocation. Given Chicago's nomadic existence this year, there might be a third.
Determined to own an MLL franchise, I opt to purchase one of the dormant teams and move them to Des Moines. Knowing that a new franchise would cost more than an existing but unused club, at least $500,000 should be knocked off the purchase price. So my kind of bright, slightly dull, but new to me franchise (to be named later) clocks in at $1 million.

Tribe 7